By James Atkinson

The Australian Hotels Association (SA) is content with new small bar legislation passed by South Australian Parliament yesterday, despite the fact the 120-person capacity restriction is higher than publicans would have liked.

The new small bar licences will be cheaper and the application process will be more efficient for potential operators. 

The licences will allow small venues of 120 people or less to open from 11am to midnight, with the ability to apply for an extension to 2am. Gaming will not be permitted by the new licences, which are restricted to Adelaide CBD at this stage.

AHA (SA) general manager Ian Horne told TheShout the new legislation was a "good outcome" even though his members believed the 120-capacity limit was a bit generous.

"We put a submission in to suggest that's probably too large, but Parliament didn't see it that way," he said.

But Horne said SA pubs do not see the new operators as being a competitive threat.

"If these venues actually attract more people to the CBD, there's a flow-on benefit for everyone who operates within the CBD," he said.

"History would say that there's some merit to having three pubs on a crossroads rather than just one."

He said the new small bars can breathe some life into Adelaide's small laneways and "unused hole-in-the-wall areas".

"We wish them well," Horne said.

"The AHA is already working with a number of them to try and help them get through some of those hurdles, recognising that they really are bars, not dissimilar to what our members do."

"They'll become part of our membership as well."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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